UW-Stout: 8th Annual Manufacturing Advantage Conference & Technology Showcase November 4-5, 2015

University of Wisconsin - Stout Campus: Menomonie, Wisconsin

The Manufacturing Advantage Conference provides a forum for manufacturers from across the region to learn best practices and participate in practical learning through interactive, hands-on breakout sessions, industry-expert keynote speakers and ample networking opportunities. We strive to carry on a solid tradition of providing impactful experiences to help manufacturers succeed in the areas of strategic direction, top-line growth, process improvement and people and culture.

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Cray doubles manufacturing capacity

Cray Inc. has doubled down on Chippewa Falls, and a tangible sign of that is now on display just off Seymour Cray Sr. Boulevard.

That’s where a Cray sign in front of a building at 1955 Olson Drive signifies the company’s new supercomputer manufacturing facility, just a couple of miles away from its original one at 1050 Lowater Rd.

Recent upgrades at that primary manufacturing site, coupled with the new facility here, have essentially doubled Cray’s manufacturing capacity to approximately 213,000 square feet.

The move assures that Cray’s supercomputers will be made for years to come in the city where Seymour Cray launched the company back in 1972.

“For more than 40 years now, we have enjoyed a proud and storied history with Chippewa Falls, and the opening of our new manufacturing facility affirms our commitment to building our supercomputers in a town that is synonymous with Cray,” said Peter Ungaro, president and CEO of Cray.

“I am pleased our new facility is now up and running, and producing Cray supercomputers that are proudly made in Chippewa Falls.”

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Two local tech start-ups win grants for super-computer program

Peter Qian has come up with a way to get new industrial products on the market a lot faster.

Dennis Bahr is working on a neutron camera that will do a better job checking manufactured equipment for flaws and screening items for explosives.

The two Madison-area men and the young companies they have started were among six named last week to receive Computational Science Challenge Grants to work with Milwaukee Institute, a nonprofit computational research center founded in 2007.

This is the first year for the contest, with a $250,000 grant from the Wisconsin Economic Development Corp. and a matching grant for $250,000 worth of support services funded by Milwaukee private equity firm Mason Wells.

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Oil spill cleanup by sponge: Madison scientists tout tidy technology

By Thomas Content of the Journal Sentinel

In a development arising from nanotechnology research, scientists in Madison have created a spongelike material that could provide a novel and sustainable way to clean up oil spills.

It's known as an aerogel, but it could just as well be called a "smart sponge."

To demonstrate how it works, researchers add a small amount of red dye to diesel, making the fuel stand out in a glass of water. The aerogel is dipped in the glass and within minutes, the sponge has soaked up the diesel. The aerogel is now red, and the glass of water is clear.

"It was very effective," said Shaoqin "Sarah" Gong, who runs a biotechnology-nanotechnology lab at the Wisconsin Institute for Discovery in Madison.

"So if you had an oil spill, for example, the idea is you could throw this aerogel sheet in the water and it would start to absorb the oil very quickly and efficiently," said Gong, a University of Wisconsin-Madison associate professor of biomedical engineering. "Once it's fully saturated, you can take it out and squeeze out all the oil."

The material's absorbing capacity is reduced somewhat after each use, but the product "can be reused for a couple of cycles," Gong said.

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UW 'ideas factory' looks to turn research into economic growth

By Kathleen Gallagher of the Journal Sentinel

When Rebecca Blank arrived at the University of Wisconsin-Madison last summer, she became chancellor of one of the largest academic research universities in the world, but one that has an uneven track record for commercializing that work.

UW-Madison had nearly $1.2 billion in research spending yet launched only four start-ups in 2012, according to the Association of University Technology Managers. Blank wants to improve that performance and has a great opportunity in front of her.

As she settles into the job, Blank is overseeing the hiring of three key economic development leaders and a new university-driven commercialization effort. Blank says she wants "a real step-up in ways we engage in the economic development agenda for the state."

During a four-year stint as deputy U.S. commerce secretary, Blank says she learned that economically successful regions attract investment and industries by building partnerships between the public, private and educational sectors — and there is always a large research institution involved.

"The University of Wisconsin-Madison is that research center. It is the ideas factory and the innovation center for the state," Blank said. "It has got to be a partner with the state and with the private sector if we're going to attract the high-tech manufacturing, nutrition, software, health care businesses of the 21st century."

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Q&A: How WARF Plans to Stay Relevant in Lean Times for Tech Transfer

Angela Shah

Quick, name one of the oldest—if not the oldest—university tech transfer institutions in the country.

If your brain automatically took you to a spot in New England or sunny California, think again. It’s the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation, or WARF, which was founded nearly 90 years ago in 1925.

What would become WARF started when Harry Steenbock, a University of Wisconsin biochemistry professor, discovered a way to increase the vitamin D content of food, which could eliminate rickets, a crippling bone disease in children caused by a deficiency in that vitamin. Quaker Oats offered him $900,000—worth almost $12 million today—for the rights to his invention.

But Steenbock believed that the university should benefit from research he had conducted there. And so, he began to petition regents to set up a foundation composed of alumni that would manage patents from university research, and license the inventions to people in the business world who could make them into useful, profitable products. Any royalty income from the products would flow back to the foundation, and be put back into additional UW research, creating what WARF founders envisioned would be a virtuous cycle.

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UW-Madison, WARF: Announce new tech transfer partnership

MADISON - The University of Wisconsin-Madison and the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation (WARF) today announced the launch of a major new partnership focused on entrepreneurship on the UW-Madison campus, building on a long legacy of collaboration to move scientific innovation to the marketplace.

In defining, co-funding, and launching D2P - shorthand for Discovery to Product - UW-Madison and WARF seek to more effectively cultivate a culture of entrepreneurship among faculty and students, and better support the formation of new companies, while systematically expanding the number of innovations that reach the market through startups or licensing arrangements with established companies.

"D2P is a big step forward in our support of entrepreneurship among both faculty and students," says UW-Madison Chancellor Rebecca Blank, explaining that her time at the U.S. Department of Commerce reinforced her belief in universities as the "idea factories" required to keep American companies competitive. "I want to make sure that UW-Madison is on the cutting edge of entrepreneurship and technology commercialization."

D2P will be funded initially through a $1.6 million commitment from UW-Madison with matching funds from WARF.

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Gauthier Biomedical partners, not just supplies customers

By Guy Boulton of the Journal Sentinel

Grafton — A divide of concrete blocks, painted white and about 4 feet tall, sets off a small area of the factory floor at Gauthier Biomedical.

The area commemorates Gauthier Biomedical's start: It is the same size — 900 square feet — as the medical instrument manufacturer's first shop when it was founded in 2000.

It also provides a measure of the company's growth.

In July 2012, Gauthier Biomedical moved its offices and factory to a $10 million, 80,000-square-foot building in Grafton. The company has invested $8 million in equipment, including more than $4 million in the past two years. It now employs more than 80 people, with plans to hire an additional 25 this year.

That growth came by reinvesting profits and without money from outside investors.

Gauthier Biomedical designs and makes spine and orthopedic surgical instruments for some of the largest companies in the business, including Medtronic, Johnson & Johnson, Zimmer, Biomet and Stryker.

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Groups attack Wisconsin Alumni Foundation's embryonic stem cell patent

By Kathleen Gallagher of the Journal Sentinel

Two nonprofit groups are continuing their challenge to one of the Wisconsin Alumni Foundation's key embryonic stem cell patents by asking a federal appeals court to invalidate it.

The Public Patent Foundation, based in New York, and Consumer Watchdog, Santa Monica, Calif., filed a brief Tuesday with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit. The Public Patent Foundation was one of the successful challengers in the recently decided case in which the Supreme Court ruled that genes cannot be patented.

"WARF's broad patent on all human embryonic stem cells is invalid for a number of reasons and we are confident the Court of Appeals will agree," said Dan Ravicher, the foundation's executive director. The groups believe that all researchers should have unfettered access to embryonic stem cells, which scientists believe could help treat many diseases.

A WARF spokeswoman declined to comment, saying the foundation needed to review the filing with its attorneys.

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FluGen studies show progress toward universal flu vaccine

By Kathleen Gallagher of the Journal Sentinel

FluGen Inc., a Madison vaccine and vaccine delivery product company, said it has done studies in animals suggesting a vaccine it has in development could be taken every three to five years and protect against a wide range of flu viruses - even those it was not designed to prevent.

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